247835 Opportunities for integration between faith and medicine in Northwestern Ethiopia

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sarah Rawlins, BSN, MPH(c) , School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Global Health Department, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Sarah Gimbel, RN, MPH , Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor, Global Health-Health Alliance International, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Judd Walson, MD, MPH , Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Anteneh Girma, MD , Epidemiology and Biostatistics Gondar University Hospital, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia
Alemayehu Tefera, RN , Gondar University School of Public Health, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia
Background: The Amhara region of Ethiopia faces an epidemic of HIV/AIDS, where prevalence is 50% higher than the national prevalence of 1.4%. Research demonstrates that religious leaders may be influential in improving Antiretroviral adherence. The city of Gondar, Ethiopia is located in the Amhara region, where Orthodox Christianity accounts for nearly 50% of the population and informs much of the population's health seeking behaviors. It is hypothesized that Soul Fathers, which are specialized priests, may serve as promising entry points for improving antiretroviral adherence in this specific geographic area. Methods: In-depth, structured interviews will be conducted with three groups of ART patients (Adherent, Lost, Default) at Gondar University Hospital. Participants will be chosen through purposive sampling and interviews will cease when saturation of data has been reached. The researchers will additionally conduct a series of focus group discussions with Soul Fathers in Gondar. Results will be analyzed using grounded theory. Results: Preliminary findings from a baseline needs assessment conducted last March support the research hypothesis where 67% (n=33) of those interviewed held the belief that educated Soul Fathers can help to improve HIV/AIDS care in Orthodox Ethiopia. Leaders of both faith and medical institutions identified this as a potentially powerful area for integration. Conclusions: It is anticipated that the findings of this research will help to inform the planning of program interventions and policies directed toward improving HIV/AIDS care in Northwestern Ethiopia.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss current challenges and opportunities for improving HIV/AIDS care in Northwestern Ethiopia

Keywords: Challenges and Opportunities, Needs Assessment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a public health graduate student at the University of Washington and personally conducted the needs assessment in Ethiopia for which I would be presenting on.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.